Our Odyssey update – highlights of Week 1

The Odyssey continues – highlights from Week 1

Travelling for 3 months, travel blog

What do strawberries, gin, croquet and history have in common? Read on…..

So we’ve been here in the south west of the UK for well over a week now and we’ve been very busy!  So busy in fact we haven’t had a lot of spare time 🙂

I’ve decided I’ll try to update Our Odyssey series once a week, mainly so that I don’t lose track of what we’ve been doing. The hardest part of that is that it’s been hard to find the time! I’ll aim to post an update on a Thursday or Friday but don’t hold me to that schedule 🙂

What have we been doing?

Walking

We’ve done lots of walking since arriving just over a week ago! We have walked all over Cheddar and it’s been really good for us to get outside and exercise – it has also helped fight the dreaded jet lag as I mentioned in my first post – The Odyssey begins…

We’ve cycled, we’ve taken Ozzy, the 6 month old chunky black lab puppy, for walks and we’ve enjoyed being here with our daughter and her fiance Craig.

We’ve had fun over lots of cups of tea, we’ve been sightseeing, we’ve relaxed and we’ve caught up with old friends, all the while enjoying the sunny warm-ish days of Spring. I must say the longer days and hours of sunlight have been amazing and much appreciated. As I write now it’s after 9pm and still light!

I’m absolutely loving the many shades of green, I’m sure everyone thinks I’m doctoring my photos but I’m not, it really is this green here!

Friends

When we lived in Cheddar for a year (26 years ago), my first friends were Liz from next door and Shelley from around the corner.  It helped that they both had daughters, who made friends with our daughters, and their husbands also got on well with the Mathematician. Shelley and her family have visited us in Tumbarumba and Liz is used to getting a knock on the door whenever I’m in the area.  I never let her know I’m arriving, but she’s never phased by my arrival!

Shelley and I have stayed in touch and we’ve always made an effort to catch up when we’re in the village. Her eldest daughter came to stay with us for 3 months after finishing school and our eldest daughter lived with Shelley for some time when she moved over here.  We always manage to pick up where we left off and enjoy each other’s company.  When she knew we were visiting, Shelley set a date and arranged a get together of some of our ‘old’ friends.  It was a lovely evening catching up with the news and deciding that none of us had aged a bit over the past 26 years!!  Here’s a lovely photo of me with Liz and Shelley to prove it 🙂

Friends from way back
Friends from way back

We have plans for more catch-ups in the coming weeks and we had a doggy walking date too, which was fun!

Croquet anyone?

On a recent day trip to Wells (a lovely city famous for its Cathedral and for being the location for the movie Hot Fuzz), we visited both the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.  Both are amazing structures with oodles of history and no matter how many times we’ve seen them before we always enjoy just wandering around, soaking up the atmosphere. We haven’t visited the gardens in the palace before but as it was spring, we decided to pay the pounds to have a look inside.  They were magnificent – green, luscious, colourful, peaceful and just delightful.

One of the best things we saw as we entered the grounds was a game of croquet in action.  It was such a quintessentially English scene that I nearly had to pinch myself.  The Palace Croquet Club were bedecked in their whites and were oblivious to the crowds wandering around taking an interest in their game

Australian Mother’s Day

It was Mother’s Day in Australia on Sunday 13 May. I celebrated with messages and cards from my daughters at home and then we went out to a National Trust property called Dyrham Park, about an hour’s drive away towards Bath.  It was a beautiful Spring day and the house and park-lands were magnificent.  Add in a cream tea and my day was perfect! Here’s just a few snaps from our day out.  We finished the day by celebrating with a delicious dinner out at the Swan in Wedmore.

Riding the Strawberry Line

Luckily Melanie and Craig have bikes so we’ve managed to get out and explore the area a bit more, although the roads are so narrow it’s quite scary riding. I must say the drivers are very patient and accepting of bike riders but all the same it was good to get onto a dedicated trail for walkers and riders.  Cheddar is known for its strawberries and many years ago they had a railway line called The Strawberry Line which transported strawberries from Cheddar to London.  Here’s a snippet of the line’s heritage from their site.

The Cheddar Valley Line, which ran from Yatton railway station through to Cheddar and Wells, became known as the “Strawberry Line” because of the volume of locally grown strawberries that it carried to London markets. Strawberries were collected from a string of Cheddar Valley village settlements sheltered under the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills between Cheddar and Wells for transporting to Yatton Junction. The line was also a vital economic link for passengers, quarrying, agriculture and general goods.

It was a beautiful sunny day as we set off from Cheddar through to Axbridge and onward. The path is currently being upgraded but we managed to follow the signs and cycled through open farmlands, wooded areas, orchards with a good variety of scenery along the way.  It was absolutely beautiful riding, in some areas it was a bit steep which meant I had to get off the bike and walk up the track but I didn’t mind.

At Yatton railway station they had a little cafe, aptly called The Strawberry Line Cafe, where they had disabled youth working and learning new skills.  We enjoyed lunch in a sunny spot and got talking with some other cyclists, as you do! It was a ride of over 32 kms all up and on the return trip we stopped at the Oak House in Axbridge for a cool drink in the warm sunshine.

I decided to taste one of the locally produced Gins  and found the Blood Orange Gin and Tonic a real hit!  It was served with Double Dutch Cranberry tonic and orange zest – wow what a refreshing drink it was – and at 40% alcoholic content I’m lucky I was able to ride the last few kms home 🙂  It was presented beautifully too which helped my enjoyment. I really could have sat there all afternoon and I’m thinking a return trip will have to be made before we move on from here!

As we’re into Rail Trails, this ride made it clear to us yet again, that keeping history alive is very important, as otherwise the disused lines would be overgrown and left to rot. There were many riders, and walkers of all ages on the trail which was great to see!

That evening we went to Chew Valley Lake for fish and chips and watched the sunset over the water – we’re being so spoilt!  The interesting thing is that Chew and Wookey were names used in the Star Wars movies – there was a real connection there somehow! I wrote a post earlier this week on the A-Z of names of Somerset and Wookey Hole was very popular.  I should have added Chew Magna for my entry for the letter C!  These names are all amazing 🙂

What’s an ‘Odyssey’?

Odyssey – a long wandering and eventful journey. An exciting adventure.

I’ve decided that this three month trip will be known as our Odyssey, as it will be a long wandering and eventful journey. My first post in this series, in case you missed it, is here: The Odyssey begins – departure, arrival and home

What’s coming up?

This weekend Melanie and I have the Annual Bloggers Bash in London to attend and we’re very excited to meet many of our blogging friends in real life. We’ve also got plans to visit some more National Trust sites and other favourite places in the coming weeks before we head to Iceland.

So that’s a quick run down on our activities this week, I hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with us and will join us again! Any questions or comments can be left below, I always love hearing from you 🙂

Deb xx

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65 Replies to “Our Odyssey update – highlights of Week 1”

  1. Glad you’ve found time to write about your trip. It must be good to return to the place where you lived when your children were younger. You’ve put Cheddar on the map for me! Your descriptions make me want to read more about the area.

    I’m loving your photos and stories of your daily adventures. They sound amazing and lots of fun.

    Loved your ‘pinch me’ moment!

    Stay relaxed and have fun. Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie, I’m pleased to know you’re enjoying our travels 🙂 I had another pinch me moment this week and the post will be up soon – hope you’ll stop by and have a read!

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  2. Catching up via #MTSTL party and what a wonderful catch up it was. I have not travelled to the UK but my grandmother was from near Bath. I really love seeing others pics and it is a joy to see the countryside too. Denyse

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Deb! Great to hear about your first week of travels and I’ll be looking forward to your weekly updates. I think this is the best way as you can enjoy yourself for the week and then make us all feel jealous reading what you have been up to. I would so love to revisit England with Mike. I did a driving holiday with my first husband and the kids when they were little. I love the countryside of England and Bath is a gorgeous area. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us Deb and taking the time to link up at Midlife Share the Love Party. Can’t wait to read what you get up to next week! #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s my pleasure Sue, it’s also really good for me to be able to recap my thoughts as we’re doing so much I don’t want to forget anything 🙂 I’ve finally written my Bash recap post but for some reason I can’t access your blog at the moment to link to you 😦

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  4. This pictures are amazing-truly. Happy Mother’s day (A week late, but still)! It’s awesome that the friends you made all those years ago are still in your life. Friends and family make all the difference.
    And also, that chunky puppy!!! So cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds as if you’re really enjoying your days together with Mel & Craig. And I’m very impressed about all the places you’ve seen in such a short amount of time. Your photos are absolutely wonderful – it’s such a nice time of the year to travel. Everything is so green and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so happy for you! Have a great time at the bash today. The pictures are lovely and you’re right. So quintessentially English, isn’t it? So good that you met up with friends from way back. Such a lovely vacation this is turning out to be. Have fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well as Ritu says nearly time. The preparations are done, the b7nt8ng is out for you, Deb and leave space for Ritu cake though s Hugh hug usually creates room. Oh and you will be videoed… be warned!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, Deb – Your week sounds (and looks) wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to keep us posted.
    Good luck at the Blogger’s Bash. I will following virtually on social media and hope to catch glimpses of you and Melanie!
    xx Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Donna, it’s my pleasure to keep you updated, thank you for reading!! I’ll make sure I get my mug in the shot somewhere at the Bash 😊 I followed along live last year and can’t believe I’m here this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved your first real update Deb – you’ve certainly been out and about and even in the “woods” – such an English term and so different to our bushland and forest. Lovely that you’re getting to spend so much quality time with your daughter and catching up with old friends. I’m looking forward to hearing how the Bloggers Bash goes – I’m sure you’re both going to love it and seeing other bloggers IRL would be great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it Leanne! I was chastised for calling it the bush/forest as it’s the ‘woods’ 😊 it’s been a really relaxing start to our trip with no pressure to do anything or be anywhere. So we’ve just done what takes our fancy!! I’m off to London today for the bash tomorrow and I’m starting to get nervous/excited about it all if I’m honest.

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  10. It all sounds so wonderful Deb. Catching up with old friends, long warm days, lush gardens, strawberries and gin and a bloggers bash to look forward to. An Odyssey indeed and so much more still to come. Enjoy it all my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lovely to read about you enjoying things and places that are so close to my heart and my youth. It’s always great to read about places that are local and so personal yet also appear interesting to a visitor. Chew Valley Lake is just over the other side of Dundry Hill from where I grew up and we often drove to the Lake on a Sunday with the family for an ice cream and later with my then boyfriend (now hubby for 31 years) when we first had our own cars aged 18!! Fab to hear that you are also off to Iceland. We love it there too so look forward to reading about it. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you are enjoying my updates about your area. It’s a lovely part of the world and without deadlines we can just mosey around at our own pace. We’ve hired a car for this week and will venture further afield. The lake was just delightful and it’s great to hear your memories of it. 😊

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      1. Looks like you’re going to have great weather in London too. You keep throwing me by calling it ‘spring’ tho. When we have great May weather we call it summer because that might be all that we get😂 !!! Have fun, Ann x

        Liked by 1 person

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